Early in 2000, the Arlington County Planning Commission formed a task force, co-chaired by Carrie Johnson and Neal Sigmon, to recommend plans for the Arlington portion of Potomac Yards, an area which straddles Four Mile Run between U.S. Route 1 and the George Washington Parkway. At the same time, the City of Alexandria had developed its own Potomac Yard Plan for addressing the future of three unused railroad bridges that cross Four Mile Run. The overlap in those ongoing efforts, coupled with the two jurisdictions’ desire to improve stream water quality and recreational potential, created an obvious opportunity for collaboration between Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. Judy Noritake, chair of the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission, became an active participant in the Arlington work group.
The last component to join the work group was Don Waye, then the staff member at NVRC in charge of monitoring Four Mile Run. Waye indicated that a significant quantity of data related to Four Mile Run had been developed since the 1970's flood control project. He suggested that a formal study may show that changes to the Four Mile Run channel, which could improve the stream’s water quality and recreational potential, are possible without reducing the level of flood protection that has existed for the last 30 years.